Scanning acoustic microscopy (SAM) provides the means for studying the elastic properties of a material at a comparable level of resolution to that obtained by optical microscopy for structural studies. SAM is nondestructive and permits observation of properties in the interior of materials which are optically opaque. Two modes of ultrasonic signals have been used in a Model UH3 Scanning Acoustic Microscope (Olympus Co., Tokyo, Japan) as part of a continuing study of the microstructural properties of bone. The pulse mode, using a single narrow pulse in the range of 30 MHz to 100 MHz, has been used to survey the surface and interior of specimens of human and canine femoral compact cortical bone at resolutions down to approximately 30μm. To obtain more detailed information at significantly higher resolution, the burst mode, comprised of tens of sinusoids, has been used at frequencies from 200 MHz to 600 MHz. This has provided details of both human and canine single osteons (or haversion systems) and osteonic lamellae at resolutions down to approximately 1.7μm, well within the thickness of a lamella as viewed in a specimen cut transverse to the femoral axis.

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